Sunday, December 23, 2012

The night before Christmas...

Or in this case, two nights before the big day!! My husband has been reading Sophie this book for the past few weeks and she has the entire story memorized. She even runs around the house reciting verses to her baby dolls. Tonight, I had to take the opportunity to get a little bit on tape:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Who's the boss?

On this lazy Saturday morning, I had actually had chance to document one of the many silly conversations heard around our house. Two-year-old reasoning never fails to amuse me. :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

We're still here!

So much for blogging weekly, huh? It's been so long that I forgot my Blogger password. ;) Anyway, we are still here! We have had some pretty exciting and crazy things going on lately, but I will save that for a later post.

It's now my absolute favorite time of the year and we are busy getting ready for the holiday season. Sophie is at a really fun age and is super excited about all things related to Christmas. She tears through the house singing Christmas songs and demands to drive by the "silly house with LOTS of lights" on our way home each night. You should see this house though, it really puts the Griswolds to shame!

In other news, Sophie's time at the Moog Center will most likely be coming to end much sooner than we originally thought. She will continue to attend next semester, but may likely be mainstreamed after that. While we are extremely proud of her success, I feel a little indifferent about this change. We have been with Moog since Sophie was four weeks old and they have been an incredible support system in many ways. I know that we have the tools to ensure that she will continue to succeed, but it is still a bit scary.

In light of this, we have begun to research different pre-school options for Sophie. Obviously, we are concerned about finding the right environment that will help accommodate her hearing loss, but we are also concerned with keeping her challenged and engaged. Many of the professionals that have worked with Sophie have told us she is highly intelligent, maybe even gifted. At this point, we are trying to research all of our mainstream options (public, private, Montessori, etc...) and hope to find the perfect fit. If there are any parents out there with gifted kids, please give me your advice!!! :)

I hope everyone is having fun this time of year. Here are a few holiday pics so far:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fall Photo Dump

Here are a few of my favorite pics so far this season. I'm sure there will be more!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pinch me

“I continue to believe that if children are given the necessary tools to succeed, they will succeed beyond their wildest dreams!”
When Sophie was diagnosed with hearing loss and we began to research cochlear implants, we were told that the best case scenario will be mainstreaming her by kindergarten or shortly after. At that time, we set that as our goal and were pretty happy with the fact that she may be able to go to a regular school like a typical hearing child. We figured it would be a tough five years, but with hard work and the right resources, we could definitely make it happen.
I can say now, only two and a half years in, that Sophie is excelling beyond what we ever could have imagined and will definitely exceed this goal. About a month ago, we were approached by the director of Sophie's daycare/preschool because she really wasn't sure what to do with Sophie anymore. Sophie was in a class with other two-year-olds, but her language and social abilities were so far beyond the others. The director wanted to move her up with the three-year-olds and after some thought, we agreed to do so. I was a little hesitant because she wasn't yet two and a half and there can be a big development gap in that age range, but I knew she was ready. So, she has been with the "big kids" for a few weeks now and is doing great. Have I mentioned yet that this is a mainstream school?! Sophie is the only deaf child there and the director continues to tell us she is one of the best talkers among the three-year-olds.
Some days, I can hardly believe she is doing this well and I feel like we are living in a dream. Just a short time ago, we were so uncertain and worried about what her future would bring and now she is thriving in a mainstream setting with children who are older than her. Sophie still goes to her deaf school part-time and is excelling there as well. At this point, my uncertainty about the future has diminished and pride has taken over in it's place. I know that she will encounter many other hurdles in life, but I also know that she is a very special and talented child who will continue to excel and surprise us along the way.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Who's your sunshine?!

I just have a quick video to share. This made me laugh earlier:

She sure loves her babies!

I have been really behind on blogging the past few months, but I have a couple of weeks off work and hope to get caught up!

I hope everyone is enjoying the nice fall weather. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


This past weekend we participated in the Walk4Hearing in St. Louis and it was so much fun! It was the first year that we took part in this event and I'm so happy we did. Sophie didn't quite grasp the purpose of the walk, but she was super excited and spent the entire morning running around the house screaming,  "Walk for hearing, walk for hearing!"

Despite the chilly weather, we had a great turnout and helped raise over $30,000 for the HLAA. I was really touched by the number of our friends and family members that joined us for the walk and donated to the cause. I tried to get a good group shot of Sophie's entourage, but of course I ended up missing a few people.

We plan on participating in this event every year and I hope it becomes something that Sophie is passionate about and looks forward to.

A big thank you goes out to everyone that supported us last weekend - we appreciate it!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Then and now

I haven't updated in quite a while, but I've been trying to stay off the computer and just enjoy life! What did we do before laptops, data plans, email, Facebook, and Twitter?! ;)

Anyway, Sophie started back up at her deaf school last week and we are starting to get back in the swing of things! She's always super excited to go and loves talking about her new teacher and her old friends.

This is a picture of her on her first day:

And this was last year:

What a difference, right?! She has grown so much (in many, many ways) and I can hardly believe the obstacles we have overcome with this little munchkin. She is definitely just a typical toddler who loves to chat, sing, pretend, and asks a MILLION questions a day. Even with all the reassurance and encouragement we received about CIs when Sophie was a newborn, I never would have imagined she would be doing this well. We are very, very lucky and she helps remind me of that fact every day.

I hope everyone had a great summer and start to the school year. I'm excited for fall and can't wait for the weather to cool down and stay that way. Fall is definitely my favorite time of the year!

I tried to get Sophie on video singing some of the new songs she has been learning at daycare, but she is quite the stubborn girl and prefers to stick to the old classics. Still cute, though!

Happy Fall!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A glimpse of self-advocacy

While playing at the park today, Sophie met a new friend who was quite interested in her implants. Sophie and the little girl were jumping around on the playhouse and the girl would occasionally stop and point to or touch Sophie's processors. I stayed back for a little bit to see how this would play out and eventually, the girl asked, "What's on your head?" I left my spot on the bench and edged closer just in time to hear Sophie loudly and clearly state, "Those are my implants! I wear them on my ears." And the jumping and giggling resumed.

I stood there for a minute as my eyes got teary behind my sunglasses, then I went back to join my husband and told him about the conversation I witnessed. He smiled and said, "She's going to be fine." While such a small, brief moment, those few seconds of conversation were important and hopefully telling of the future. Although only two and not yet able to explain WHY she wears implants, Sophie is able to describe what they are - and did so proudly. This is something that has weighed heavily on my heart since the beginning of our journey and today she has given me a glimpse of how she will advocate for herself. My heart is a little lighter and I am one proud momma.  :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dog days of summer

I really seem to have neglected my goal to blog weekly, but who's counting?! There isn't much to update, we are just trying to survive the sweltering Midwest heat. :) Here are a few of my favorite summer pics so far:



Who doesn't love peanut butter?

Splashing around

Kitties at Grandma's!

Fresh-picked blackberries

Swimming in the lake

Pretty sunflower



Daddy's little musician

Summer school is over for Sophie and she will not return to Moog until after Labor Day. We get a little break from juggling schedules, but I'm also sad to be away for so long.  She recently started at a daycare and I'm hoping that the structure there will help her language continue to grow during the break. She absolutely loves her class and all of the kiddos, so we are pretty happy so far. She is the only hearing-impaired child there, but they have cared for a CI kid in the past (one of the reasons we chose them). The director is really impressed with Sophie's language abilities and keeps telling us that she has the best speech of all the two-year-olds in the school. I think any mom would like to hear that, so you can only imagine how proud we are. We'll see what the rest of the summer brings, but I have a good feeling that she won't show much regression. Hopefully the opposite! ;)

In other toddler news, I think it's safe to say Sophie is potty-trained! I'm not really sure when you consider a kid officially potty-trained, but she wears only underwear and has been accident-free for over a week now. Outings can still be a little nerve-wracking because she dislikes public toilets (and really, who can blame her there?), but she just holds it until we get home. So I think it's safe to cancel my automatic subscription to pull-ups on Amazon. Woohoo!!!

Other than that, we are just soaking up the summer and trying to stay cool! Jared is turning the big 3-0 in a couple of weeks and we are planning a long weekend trip in Chicago to celebrate with a few friends. I'm really looking forward to a fun, adults-only weekend in the city!

I hope everyone out there is enjoying the summer!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

ABCs and a little jokester

Here is a cute clip of Sophie practicing her ABCs and goofing around with her Daddy. I swear, she definitely inherited his sense of humor. ;)

I haven't updated in quite awhile, but we are just enjoying the summer and trying to make the best of this crazy heat wave here in the Midwest (we've had over a week of wonderful, humid, triple-digit weather in STL). Sophie is enjoying all things summer and her language continues to grow. The complex sentences and questions that come out of her mouth continue to amaze me. And we are full-on potty training! She is doing pretty well and only wears underwear at home - even at night. For a few weeks now she has been dry every morning - yahoo! She can even make the one hour trip in the car to Grandma's house without an accident! :) However, she still wears a pull-up to school and daycare and seems to only go on the potty part-time there. She's getting there, I guess. Maybe we just need to completely ditch the pull-up and see what happens...?

Anyway, I hope everyone out there had a great Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Too young for rock and roll?

Not this toddler! Here is Sophie singing along to one of her new favorites. (And my apologies in advance to my hubby for displaying your indredible singing talent to the world, especially considering you slightly flubbed the lyrics to this obvious classic!)

Music has always been important to both of us, which is another reason that learning our baby is deaf was such a heartbreaker. While researching CIs, this was something that we were concerned about - how music would sound and if Sophie would enjoy it. I think it's safe to say that she is developing an appreciation for music, though, and we could not be happier. She can even carry somewhat of a tune!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Too darn fast

This is how I feel about my life right now. I never really understood it until I became a parent. Now, as weeks and months whiz by in the blink of an eye, I totally get it. Precious time, that is.

In the car on our way home today, I asked Sophie how her day was. Her response? "I don't want to talk to you, Mommy." Huh?! So I ask, "Why?" "Because I'm too tired," she says.

So we rode home in silence and I sadly realized that my baby is no more. She has a mind of her own and already choosing to ignore me. I thought I had several years until that happened, but I guess it is what it is. ;)

As she grows taller and taller and all of her babyish qualities melt away, I'm going to try my hardest to slow down and cherish this.sweet.time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Splish, splash!

That's right - bring it on, summer! No anxiety this year. :)  Two years in, I think I'm really getting the hang of being a CI mom!  We had a very successful day of swimming over the weekend and Sophie had a blast. I think these pics say it all:

Sophie was able to swim, splash around with her cousins, and even go underwater while HEARING all of the sounds around her because we "waterproofed" her implant. We put one of her back-up CIs in a plastic bag and had her wear a swim cap on top to keep it secure and provide protection. Of course, my husband is in the process of brainstorming, fine-tuning, and perfecting this method (as he does with everything), but it worked wonders!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The itsy bitsy spider

and ode to Tusa (Sophie's favorite baby doll) :

My favorite part is at the end - "Oh, Tusa... I love your arms!" Such a crazy kiddo at times. I shot this video about a month ago and since then Sophie's imagination has really developed. I often listen to her singing nonsense songs about animals or someone she knows while laying in her bed at night, after her implants are off. Sometimes it breaks my heart knowing she cannot hear herself during this time; other times it makes me smile just being able to make out the silly verses of her songs.

Monday, May 21, 2012

New CI headbands

I had an idea over the weekend and put together some new CI headbands for Sophie. I like these much better because they are smaller and only take a few minutes to make. Plus, if you add in a huggie (mic lock tubing), they are VERY secure and will not fall off.

I have also been worried about her old headbands rubbing along her hairline (and let's be honest, she needs all the hair she can get!), so these new ones will also solve that problem. :)

If anyone out there is interested in how to make these or where to get the supplies, email me at and I will give you the info!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Two of a kind

Over the weekend, we met up with this awesome CI mom and her adorable family. The sweetness and innocence of this picture almost causes me to melt:

Almost strangers, these two little girls are too young to understand exactly how alike they are. As they grow, they will encounter many of the same struggles and insecurities, but will also celebrate the similar milestones and victories. When the time comes and they begin to truly understand their similarities, I also hope they realize how incredibly SPECIAL they are.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 26th

It’s quite possible that the emotions of this day will forever linger in my soul. The feelings of anguish I thought I would never overcome, the immense anger and sadness, and the encompassing feeling of utter hopelessness. April 26th marks the beginning of this unique and everlasting journey - the day we discovered Sophie is deaf.

As I wrote about this subject last year, the emotions I experienced that day were still somewhat fresh and raw to me. I was still a little heartbroken, uncertain, and trying to wrap my head around what the future would hold. I was also sad that I spent Sophie’s infancy with a gloomy haze surrounding me – I’m not sure if I ever was able to relax and fully enjoy her as a baby. My new mom bliss was taken away in the sound booth during her ABR that day and I don’t think I ever completely regained it. I was too worried about all of her appointments, therapy, getting everything in order for her surgery, and just the general future. I wanted time to fast forward until she had received her CIs and we were on the fast track to listening and learning to speak. Now that I know she IS okay and WILL BE okay, I regret this. I wish I could have lived in the moment. At the time though, I know it was the hope I had for the future that kept me going.  

While I have regrets, I realize there is nothing I can change and really, it may not have even been possible to live or think differently if my lovely hindsight had been foresight. Besides, I have a new bliss now – toddler bliss. J And although I still grieve April 26th, it is beginning to hurt less and less. I have made it through the fog of sadness and feelings of uncertainty. Sophie is sweet, funny, sassy, stubborn, and everything else a typical two-year-old should be. Most days I hardly think twice about her being deaf unless I am troubleshooting her implants or frustrated that I cannot find a CI headband to match her outfit. But even when I am reminded, the pride I have for her and everything she has accomplished so far completely overshadows any pain that is trying to resurface and reminds me of the miracle we are living.  So this year on April 26th, I will be celebrating where we are TODAY and trying not to grieve what I thought should have been.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


We are less than a month in, but if I had to sum up the age of two thus far, I would use one word - DE-MAN-DING! Sophie is a joy and this age is so much fun, but also pretty exhausting! Everything is "I want  _______!!! " and then constantly repeated until she either gets it or something else she wants catches her attention - and then the cycle repeats itself. Where-oh-where does this energy come from?!

We have quite the negotiator on our hands, too. She is always trying to get more and more... and more and more... When I am telling her she can have a jelly bean if she goes pee-pee on the potty, she yells, "TWO jelly beans!" Seriously? Can she sense that peeing on the potty is so important to me that I may actually fold and give her two? Oh yes,  I think she can. And sometimes I do - just don't tell my husband.

And then earlier tonight I was sitting in the kitchen and I soon had a little hand grabbing me, "I want to go in the living room, Mommy! I want to read a book!" "We just read a book," I say. "Hmm... I want to read two books, Mommy."

Well played, girlfriend. How do I possibly say no to that?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Twinkle, twinkle

The entire song, from start to finish:

Moments like these make it hard to remember that she is deaf and easy for my heart to swell with pride.

Monday, April 2, 2012

2nd Birthday Madness!

Sophie turned two last week! I know parents always say this, but I can't believe how fast these past couple of years have gone by. It's bittersweet that I no longer have a little baby, but this age is so much fun! Sophie began her birthday week a bit rough because she came down with a virus, but we made the most of it and still had plenty of time for celebration with family and friends. Here is the recap in pictures:

Nina, Mattie, and Sophie mesmerized by their candy
Happy Birthday to me!

Helping make cupcakes for school

Quite the creative florist
A Dora themed party, what else?!

Ready to party!

"I WUV Dora, Mommy!"
Favorite gift? It even has a place for her baby. :)
Deep in  concentration

Next fav? All things BUBBLES!

Such a big girl

Being a goofball - sugar is kicking in
Happy Birthday, sweet girl!